The community group Reinstate Bonnybridge Railway Station, founded in 2015, held a meeting for elected officials on Friday, 28th October, with the intention of bringing the members together to show the present place on the campaign and get a united front on the topic to move forward in getting the required report.
The group invited not only local councillors but invited a spokesperson from each elected party at Holyrood and the local representative to Westminster. In attendance was:
Cllr Linda Gow
Cllr Billy Buchanan
Cllr Tom Coleman
Cllr Jim Blackwood
Cllr Paul Garner
Cllr Brian McCabe
Michael Matheson MSP
John McNally MP
Ian McGregor Bonnybridge Community Council
Elaine Smith MSP, handed her apologies due to illness but was represented by her office manager.
Bryan Deakin, Co-Chair of Reinstate Bonnybridge Railway said “We were happy to see so many representatives come together to move forward with this project. It has been a long time since we had a train station in our village. We would also like to thank Bonnybridge Golf Club for allowing us to host the meeting in their premises”
Cllr Paul Garner, for Denny and Banknock Ward added “I’m more than happy to give my support to the proposed new Railway station in Bonnybridge. This will increase connectivity within our area and be beneficial to the residents of wards 5 & 3 which is required especially now to ease congestion on our roads and assist people already feeling the effects of reduced bus services”
Cllr Brian McCabe for Denny and Banknock stated “I would like to thank the Bonnybridge Railway group, looking to reinstate a station in Bonnybridge, for their presentation last Friday. I thought it was an excellent presentation; the level of detail provided highlighted the sound case for a new station. The comments made following the presentation suggested a desire from all elected members in attendance, to move forward and to take the matter to the next level. The next stage was identified as a need for a STAG report.
A budget figure of £80,000 to fund the STAG Report was suggested, this figure would come from the Economic Development budget of Falkirk Council. If this proposal is put forward, I will certainly add my support to it. There was an expressed desire from all, to move things on, hopefully, this will now happen.”
Cllr Linda Gow from Bonnybridge and Larbert said “We are acutely aware of the community’s wishes to see a station in Bonnybridge and will continue to work towards delivering this wish”
Local MSP for the Area, Michael Matheson added “The introduction of a new railway station in Bonnybridge is something that I have been campaigning for over a number of years now, so I was delighted to attend the meeting of the Bonnybridge Railway Group on Friday. In order to move this matter forward, I emphasised the need for Falkirk Council to commission a STAG Report and going from the group own research they recognise a STAG report is the next step. We now need Falkirk Council to act on this. The Bonnybridge Railway Group can continue to count on my support to make this project a reality and I look forward to working with them in the coming months”
Commenting after the meeting, John McNally MP said:
“I welcome this initiative and the work that the Reinstate Bonnybridge Railway group is doing. I have been involved with this issue with Councillor Tom Coleman since 2005.
At that time Councillor Coleman developed the proposal for a new train station in his ward to the point where, by 2007, the council needed to produce a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report in order to access funding from The Scottish Government to build the station.
At this time the SNP lost the local election and control of Falkirk Council. The development of a train station in Bonnybridge is in the hands of the Labour/Tory council administration and has been since 2007.
I am sure that this issue will come up during next year’s local election and I hope that the people of Bonnybridge refer to the work and voting record of their Councillors when considering who to re-elect.”
The meeting ended with agreements on moving forward and a realisation of what is needed in procuring the needed STAG report for the station.